• Penny postcards help pioneer women stay connected

    It’s always fun to send and receive postcards.

    Back in the day of the western pioneer, as contributor Ednor Therriault explained in the March/April issue of Montana Magazine, postcards weren’t only a sources of fun, but a crucial way to stay connected. Therriault wrote about Philip Burgess’ book that chronicles the lives of his aunt and grandmother, Anna and Dikka Lee, who came to Montana in the early 20th century and settled near Sidney.

    Burgess uncovered boxes of “penny postcards” written and received by the Lee sisters. The postcards revealed a strong bond between women of the pioneer west. They were able to share news and well wishes through these pretty card. It makes for a great story.

    The postcards (named for the penny stamps attached) make for a colorful slideshow.

    Dikka Lee and her husband Norman. Photo courtesy of Philip Burgess.

    Dikka Lee and her husband Norman. Photo courtesy of Philip Burgess.

    Want to know more about this story? Montana author Philip Burgess’s latest book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, chronicles the journey of two Minnesota sisters who did just that, leaving their town of Norwegian transplants to seek the autonomy promised by claiming a chunk of land in the harsh territory of eastern Montana.

    Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers is available in Missoula at Fact & Fiction, and at www.amazon.com. More information and Philip Burgess’ performance calendar can be found at www.badlandsrequiem.com, and at www.humanitiesmontana.org.

    - Jenna

    • PennyART5-w600-h400
    • PennyART6-w600-h400
    • PennyART12-w600-h400
    • PennyART13-w600-h400
    • PennyART15-w600-h400
    • PennyART3-w600-h400
    • PennyART2-w600-h400

    Postcard Portraits of Pioneers

    Story by Ednor Therriault, Photos courtesy of Philip Burgess

    Blood-chilling blizzards. Withering heat waves. Starved-out livestock. Parched terrain that stubbornly refused to support a decent crop of anything.

    The badlands of northeastern Montana could seem as inhospitable as the moon, but that didn’t keep thousands of homesteaders from making their way westward after the Civil War, hoping to find their fortune or simply scratch a living out of a 320-acre parcel of government-granted land.

    Imagine doing it all while wearing a dress.

    Montana author Philip Burgess’s latest book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, chronicles the journey of two Minnesota sisters who did just that, leaving their town of Norwegian transplants to seek the autonomy promised by claiming a chunk of land in the harsh territory of eastern Montana.

    To read the entire feature on Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.